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Transgender woman viciously attacked in LoDo; mom believes it was a hate crime

Victim's jaw wired by doctors after it was smashed in attack
Posted at 12:02 AM, May 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-05 12:27:09-04

DENVER -- Police are looking for a man who viciously assaulted a transgender woman in LoDo during the early morning hours of April 28.

Amber Nicole, 23, said she and several friends had gone out to the View House for a night on the town.

They left the nightclub around 1:15 a.m. and were on their way to their car when Nicole was assaulted.

She said she doesn't remember the attack, but does remember feeling threatened beforehand, so much so that she asked a friend to start recording with a cell phone.

The assault dislocated her jaw and left her face bloodied.

"I felt I was being choked," she said. "Then I realized it was from the pressure of my jaw resting on my neck."

When Nicole's mom, Juls Martinez, arrived at the hospital, she couldn't believe her eyes.

"I was just horrified," she said. "Really scared. My baby was just lying there and she was gurgling on her blood."

Doctors wired Ms. Nicole's jaw shut.

She told Denver7 it could be eight weeks before the wires are removed.

Feeling different at an early age

Nicole said she knew she was different at an early age. While her sister received colorful dresses and skirts, she, raised as a boy, received t-shirts and jeans.

"I thought her clothes were beautiful," she said. "I wondered why I couldn't have them."

Nicole said she was 18 or 19 when she accepted that she "liked boys," and was transgender.

Martinez said she initially had difficulty accepting her child as transgender due to religious reasons, but is now very accepting.

"As a mom, I just think my daughter should be able to go anywhere, just like the rest of us," she said. "I'm angry that people think they can...hurt a beautiful girl like that."

Nicole agrees.

"Just because you don't identify with someone's way of living, doesn't mean you should hurt them," she said. "We shouldn't be forced to live another way because it's easier for someone to understand."

Matthew Shepard

When the victim's entertainment/activist friend, Lady Sativa, learned of the attack, Matthew Shepard came to mind.

Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, tortured and left to die on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.

"I just wondered if this was going to be another story brushed under the rug, or if we were actually going to do something to make some change," Sativa said.

After discussing the attack with family members and friends, Nicole decided to go public with what happened.

"I want people to know it's not okay," she said. "You shouldn't put your hands on anybody."

Benefit Fundraiser

Sativa told Denver7 that a "multi-level" benefit entertainment show, called Beautiful Soul, will be held Wednesday at Blush & Blu, to help raise funds for the victim.

"We have drag queens, we have burlesque, we have boylesqe, we have singers and dancers," Sativa said. "It's a $10 donation at the door."

Beautiful Soul begins at 7 p.m. at 1526 E. Colfax Avenue.

In addition to the benefit fundraiser, Sativa said a GoFundMe account has been set up to help Nicole with expenses.

"Amber has this spirit that is overwhelmingly welcoming and caring," Sativa said. "You don't even have to speak to her to know that her heart is a brilliant and wonderful place to be."

Investigation Ongoing

Denver Police are encouraging anyone who witnessed the attack, or who has relevant information, to contact DPD, or share the information anonymously through Crime Stoppers (720) 913-7867.